as regional Centre of Excellence for food and Hospitality Training
Sarawak Tribune - Sunday, 6 July 2003
Abdul Hakim Bujang from Balikpapan, Indonesia
By Abdul Hakim Bujang from Balikpapan, Indonesia
BALIKPAPAN - The Sarawak
chapter of BIMP-EAGA East Asia Business Council (EABC) is optimistic that the
region economic activities would be rejuvenated with the improved mobility
in the region.
"Mobility is the main
thing, if we want to promote anything ,we need to move and meet people, before
making friends and 'Building trust, either to do business or consider
investing," its' Chairman, Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg said in an
exclusive interview yesterday.
MAS service to Balikpapan
from Kuching started on Thursday, while that to Kota Kinabalu sector took effect
According to Karim, BIMPEAGA
administrative system have been restructured to make it more effective operating
as a Business Chamber rather than a collective organisation to get the
"In the past, BIMP-EAGA
gave been focussing too much on mega and multi lateral projects; now we are
trying to promote bilateral ties," he said.
He said two areas have been
identified to be worked out - Tourism and Agriculture and Food Industry at the
Small and Medium Industry.
"The reason is very
simple. SMEs have always being very important in any nation's economy and
there is so much scope,within BIMP-EAGA," he stressed.
Karim admitted that EABC
performance have come under scrutiny for failing to live up to expectation.
"In the past, people
have been very cynical about EAGA, referring to it as Eat And Go Away as nothing
ever materialised but now we are having the right people in the right place.
"Our unit in Malaysia,
Brunei, Philippine and Indonesia are now working in a solid team, and driven by
private sector and not government based anymore. Gone are the days where EAGA
members want to do so much over a very short time," he added.
He said EABC now are having
the right character who would do the most practical thing.
"This time we are
confident of doing it and making things happen," he said.
When asked on Sarawak
Chapter's immediate plan, he said they are trying to make Sarawak a Centre for
Excellence for Food and Hospitality Industry training.
"We have signed MoU with
New Zealand's Christchurch Polytechnic Institute in March to offer the training
here and at the very same time trying to develop pacific cuisine to match the
continental foods," he said.
The Institute, he said, is
the main trainer for International Organisation of Travel Agents (IOTA) and is
widely recognised by international tourism players.
He said Malaysia has the
advantage in luring Chinese students who would be spared the culture shock
besides being nearer and cheaper than going to New Zealand. "We can trained
them either in English or Mandarin, depending on their requirement," he